After four years managing a team that is largely considered to be the best in the world, Pep Guardiola is stepping down to take a year long sabbatical.
It was announced on Friday that Guardiola will leave the club at the end of the season, after much speculation he was unhappy in his role.
The news came after a disappointing week, with Barca losing two pivotal games against Real Madrid and Chelsea.
However Guardiola indicated his decision was not based on these results and he decided to step down in December, but didn’t want to tell the team and have it distract them from their chase for trophies.
“Every day during four years, the demands are very high, the pressure, the necessary energy to push the players and enjoy it. I need to rest and move away,” he said.
His decision did not come as a shock to some. Speculation of his departure was generated back in February when he did not extend his rolling one-year contract.
This leaves the team in the hands of assistant coach Tito Vilanova. Guardiola insisted he has total faith in Vilanova, saying: ”He is more than qualified, and the players know him, he will change very little of what we do, and he will give a lot to the players and club,
“I can’t fool myself that I have the same energy as before.”
Since Guardiola came to the club in 2008, he has led Barca through four glorious years. These have included 13 trophies, gaining him the title as the most successful coach of all time.
He has helped them claim three straight Spanish league titles, two World Cups, three Spanish Super Cups, one Copa del Rey and double their number of Champions League trophies after wins in 2009 and 2011.
The 41-year-old has not divulged his future plans, although he did say he would like to return to coaching again sooner rather than later.
Given Chelsea’s available position, it was inevitable that Roman Abramovich would like to get his increasingly successful team a manager with credentials such as Guardiola’s.
But any pending agreement with the Blues has been denied by Guardiola: ”No. It would be disrespectful to the club, I haven’t met with anyone,” he said.
The former Spain international was asked when he plans to return to coaching, he said: “I don’t know when. Now I need to rest and look at it from outside. Life will take me where it wants to go.”
Whatever Guardiola does next, it will be intruiging to all. After such an incredible career so far, he will be sought after by teams all over the world hoping he can bring them some of Barca’s magical style and those all important trophies.